James Richard Cocke (1863 – 1900), who had been blind since infancy, was an American physician, homeopath, and a pioneer hypnotherapist.He was born in the South of the United States, and had been totally blind since he was an infant. His sight had been completely destroyed when acid was accidentally applied to his eyes when he was just three weeks old.
He was considered to be "highly educated"; and, despite his total blindness, "was able to go around the city at will", and "could play a piano with much skill":
Having moved to Boston around 1885, he graduated M.D. from Boston University in June 1892, "having completed the full course of study [including performing dissections], with an average percentage of 96 for the three years". He was the first blind person to do so.
He was a member of the Medico-Legal Society of New York.
Although he studied homeopathy for a time, he made his mark as a student of hypnotism, and as a successful hypnotherapist. He wrote an important text-book on hypnotism in 1894.
o Cocke, J.R., Hypnotism: How it is Done; Its Uses and Dangers, Arena Publishing Co., (Boston), 1894.
o Cocke, J.R., "Methods of Inducing Hypnotism", Current Literature, Vol.17, No.5, (May 1895), pp. 443–444.
o Cocke, J.R., "The Power of the Mind as a Remedial Agent in the Cure of Disease", The Arena, Vol.9, No.6, (May 1894), pp. 746–757.
o Cocke, J.R., "The Practical Application of Hypnotism in Modern Medicine", The Arena, Vol.9, No.1, (December 1893), pp. 73–80.
It is a saying as old as the hills that "a little learning is a dangerous thing." While as a physician I am ready to admit the truth of this, I think that there is infinitely moredanger to the common weal from the populace being densely ignorant of the phenomena which are daily occurring in their midst. Hypnotism is at the present time exciting widespread interest, from scientific men, professional men, and laymen as well... Hypnotism: How It Is Done; Its Uses And Dangers James R. Cocke 1894
On a subsequent occasion Dr. Cocke, who was blind, was put into a deep hypnotic sleep by fixing his mind on the number 26 and holding up his hand. This time he experienced a still greater degree of terror, and incidentally learned that he could hypnotize himself. The matter of self-hypnotism we shall consider in another chapter. How the subject feels under hypnotization —Dr. Cocke's experience - COMPLETE HYPNOTISM MESMERISM, MIND READING AND SPIRITUALISM BY A. Alpheus 1903
One young fellow, aged about eighteen, said that he was addicted to the cigarette habit. The suggestion was made to him that he would not be able to smoke a cigarette for twenty-four hours. After the entertainment he was asked to smoke, as was his usual habit. He was then away from anyone who could influence him. He replied that the very idea was repugnant. However, he was induced to take a cigarette in his mouth, but it made him ill and he flung it away with every expression of disgust.*
*This is an instance of what is called post-hypnotic suggestion. Dr. Cocke tells of suggesting to a drinker whom he was trying to cure of the habit that for the next three days anything he took would make him vomit : the result followed as suggested. AMUSING EXPERIMENT - COMPLETE HYPNOTISM MESMERISM, MIND READING AND SPIRITUALISM BY A. Alpheus 1903